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Is Alberta ready to move away from oil and gas?

Last Updated Sep 18, 2020 at 11:48 am MDT

Minister for Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer announces $75 miilion for job creation in energy, agriculture and the tech sector. (PHOTO: Saif Kaisar, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Alberta may be hoping the next boom is tech, not oil.

In an interview with 660 NEWS, Alberta’s Minister for Jobs, Economy, and Innovation admitted it may be time to shift investment focus away from the energy sector.

Minister Doug Schweitzer told 660 NEWS that Alberta will start planting some flags into the ground and try to convince tech companies to come over.

But is it too little too late?

“Absolutely not,” Schweitzer responded. “We’ve heard loud and clear that we needed to pivot, and that we needed to make sure we did more in (the tech) space. We’re doing more.”

The news comes as the UCP announced a $75 million economic strategy that will boost support for the energy, tourism and agriculture sectors while investing in technology.

WATCH: Alberta government embraces diversification, starts targeting tech

“(We’ll) make sure we set up this area of our economy to thrive going forward.” Schweitzer added. “Diversification of our economy is just required. We have to continue to diversify our economy.”

He said the province will show it can take action and move faster than other jurisdictions to support tech growth.

“There’s a whole bunch more ideas that we’re cooking up right now, they’re going to be announced later this fall and into the new year, that will continue to drive home that message for companies that are looking to Alberta as a potential place to come.”

The UCP government scrapped the previous NDP government’s tech sector tax credits after it took power.

In the last provincial budget, the UCP government projected oil and gas revenues to hit $3.9 billion. That number drastically decreased to just over $1 billion in the latest fiscal update.

Recently, energy sector giant British Petroleum (BP) said that the days of oil demand growth may be gone forever.

“The pandemic has given us an opportunity to reflect on where we are now, and where we need to be,” Schweitzer said. “We have to make sure Alberta is well-positioned in the future.”